Deal on fees 'changes nothing'

17th July 1998 at 01:00
There has been no compromise on Scottish tuition fees, Brian Wilson, the Education Minister, insisted this week despite a last-minute agreement in the Lords between the Government and Opposition that saved the Teaching and Higher Education Bill.

The legislation was in danger because of furious opposition to the proposed disparity between Scottish students and those from the rest of Britain. Students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales who opt to study in Scotland will be forced to pay an extra year's fees if they take an honours degree.

Already 4 per cent fewer students from England have applied to Scottish universities and 5.5 per cent fewer from Northern Ireland.

But Mr Wilson stated: "This is not a case of compromise. The legislation is exactly as it was. It has always been made clear that the impact of the legislation would be monitored and there is no difficulty in formalising the monitoring process. This does not change the intention or practice of what we are proposing."

The Liberal Democrats and the Tories dropped their opposition after ministers promised an independent commission to review the impact of fees.

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